They have captured ships of the Ukrainian Navy, are changing all the signs to Russian ones and introduced the invader’s currency. It would be strange to expect anything else, but still, it feels strange to realize that the modern occupiers follow in the footsteps of their predecessors from 1783 and 1944-45. They have begun again to eradicate Crimea’s toponyms, as old names are for some reason grating on the chauvinistic Russian ears. Following Vladimir Zhirinovsky’s initiative to divide Ukraine between Russia, Poland, and Lithuania, his fellow LDPR Duma faction member Mikhail Degtyarev sent a letter to the separatist speaker of the self-declared State Council Volodymyr Konstantynov, proposing to rename the peninsula Crimea-Tauris, according to Izvestia newspaper.
This two-centuries-old idea has found its supporters on the ground, too: commander of the so-called Black Sea Cossack Hundred Anatolii Mareta believes the double name to be unnecessary, preferring the peninsula to be “just renamed Tavria or Tauris,” since “Crimea is a Crimean Tatar name.” So, are they going to put all things Crimean Tatar away as some garbage? Both separatists have quickly forgotten Vladimir Putin’s promise that he will “finalize the process of rehabilitation of the Crimean Tatar people,” but it seems that Putin himself has forgotten it, too, because his objections to such proposals are still to be heard.
Moreover, the process has already begun. It is quite feasible that instead of restoring historical toponyms, the occupiers will eradicate even the remaining historic names. Perhaps, Yalta will become Krasnoarmeysk once again? As the bloggers in social networks testify, Crimean Russians are openly stating their aspirations. “Elvira Bulat. Russians in Crimea, ‘liberated’ by their Kremlin daddy, feel themselves to be ‘full-fledged masters’ of Crimea and began to ask Crimean Tatars following questions: ‘They say that Magadan region of Russia has been prepared to house Crimean Tatars, will you go there or back to Uzbekistan?’ a Russian doctor asks his Crimean Tatar colleague, with whom he worked for over a decade. ‘Ukraine has cheated you, Banderites have no frigging use for you, and so you should be glad of living in Russia now. Do not repeat your treason and do not betray Russia. Putin is the best’ – from a minibus conversation. And finally, ‘You are traitors, you are unreliable and were against the referendum, so Putin will not forgive you. It is better for you to leave at once...’ was a ‘caring’ Russian student’s advice to her Crimean Tatar fellow student and friend...” They say these are only a small part of such conversations, and it is only the beginning.